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EDITORIALS

Exit B’Lal
Can’t complain his resignation was accepted
M
r Bhajan Lal can have a grievance against Mrs Sonia Gandhi and ask, “Why did you have to accept my resignation, Madam?” If he was thinking that the Congress high command would humour him even after the way he called a Press conference to hint about the letter of resignation as PCC chief he had sent to the party president, he was going against the grain of what he had learnt during his home-study course in politics. 

Break the impasse
WTO talks must continue
T
hat the WTO talks have again got deadlocked is hardly surprising. With the hardening of the positions by all the key players — the EU, the US, Brazil and India —the end result could not have been otherwise.



EARLIER STORIES
Simply scandalous
July 4, 2006
Package for farmers
July 3, 2006
Politics of quota
July 2, 2006
Price blow
July 1, 2006
Killer cops
June 30, 2006
Crossing the hurdle
June 29, 2006
Isle of terror
June 28, 2006
Planned, not sporadic
June 27, 2006
Secrets on sale
June 26, 2006
Bane of reservations
June 25, 2006


Living with leaks
Is it privatisation unlimited?
T
he leakage of pre-medical entrance test papers of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences is indeed shocking but can’t be surprising for most people. Considering that leakage of test and exam papers in this country occurs with unsurprising regularity. It had happened last year too in the same university.

ARTICLE

Women empowered
Can be a worry for fundamentalists in B’desh
by Syed Nooruzzaman
I
n which direction is the political wind blowing in Bangladesh? Can fundamentalism overshadow secular politics? Such thoughts come to one’s mind since one of the religious parties there, the Jamaat-e-Islami, is a major partner in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led ruling coalition.

MIDDLE

Practical lessons
by Dhanendra Kumar

I have recently turned 60. Nothing special, except that some friends who met that day said that it was 06-06-06 to turn 60. Some said it was Devil’s Day. As I look back, July 2, 1969, seems yesterday when I reached Ambala city. The person who received me at the railway station on that hot sultry afternoon took me straight to the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

OPED

Return journey
The Shatabdi has to rediscover itself
by Ashok Kundra
T
he story of the Kalka–Delhi Shatabdi lies wrapped in some dusty file of the Industries Department of Punjab government, which may not be traceable now. It all started with a demand by the Confederation of Indian Industry in 1989 for a fast rail link between Chandigarh and Delhi. Militancy was then at its height in Punjab.

Chinese communism celebrated
by Clifford Coonan

China’s Communist Party is 85 years old and the cadres are having a party. The Mao jackets have given way to sharp blue business suits and the red star may be digitally generated these days, but the message is still couched in doctrinaire Marxist-Leninist language.

Defence notes
A befitting farewell for our veterans 
by Girja Shankar Kaura
T
o ensure honourable and befitting funerals for its deceased veterans (ex-servicemen) and widows, the Indian Army recently launched a new scheme called the Assured Decent Last Rites Scheme (ADLRS).


From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

 

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Exit B’Lal
Can’t complain his resignation was accepted

Mr Bhajan Lal can have a grievance against Mrs Sonia Gandhi and ask, “Why did you have to accept my resignation, Madam?” If he was thinking that the Congress high command would humour him even after the way he called a Press conference to hint about the letter of resignation as PCC chief he had sent to the party president, he was going against the grain of what he had learnt during his home-study course in politics. He should have realised that his tantrums had run their course and the Central leaders would like to see the back of him if only this could be done without causing much pain. He happened to provide them the perfect opportunity and they acted swiftly. Trouble had been brewing for long. He had created a scene when Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda was chosen Chief Minister. Even after that, there was no love lost between his faction and that led by the new Chief Minister. Matters came to a head when his MP son Kuldip Bishnoi bitterly criticised the special economic zone deal with Reliance. The Congress is no stranger to factionalism but things were going a little too far, indeed, for the Congress high command’s threshold of tolerance.

However, the three-time Chief Minister obviously must have done his own detailed calculations about the costs and benefits of the step that he has taken. Of immediate interest to observers of the Haryana scene will be whether he continues to remain with the Congress—as he says, he would— or parts ways with it. If he opts for the first, he can emerge as a rallying point for the dissidents and non-Jat forces in the state’s caste-ridden politics. If he floats his own outfit, he may have to align himself with some other party to make any difference to the situation. But that will leave him with only limited influence. The Congress will be affected either way, but will not miss him, perhaps.

There are question marks over the continuation of his other son, Mr Chander Mohan, as Deputy Chief Minister. He was given this post as a palliative when Mr Bhajan Lal had protested over Mr Hooda being made Chief Minister. So far, the junior Lal has not come out in open support of his father, but the acceptance of Mr Bhajan Lal’s resignation has made his position untenable, given that family connections play an important part in most political parties these days, certainly in the Congress. 

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Break the impasse
WTO talks must continue

That the WTO talks have again got deadlocked is hardly surprising. With the hardening of the positions by all the key players — the EU, the US, Brazil and India —the end result could not have been otherwise. An exasperated Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, who represented India at the mini-ministerial in Geneva, rushed home two days ahead of the conclusion of the “toothless” discussions, calling the whole exercise a “failure”. Given the fact that the Tokyo Round took five years and the subsequent Uruguay Round eight years, it is too early to lose hope on the current Doha Round. US Trade Representative Susan Schwab put it better: there is an impasse, but the round is not dead.

There cannot be any further progress unless the main participants discard the present rigidity. The US wants the EU to cut down its agriculture subsidies by 64 per cent. Brazil and India expect the EU to bring these down at least by 54 per cent. The EU is not willing to raise its initial offer of a subsidy cut of 39 per cent beyond the 50 per cent level. This is not acceptable to the other members on the negotiating table. India and Brazil, representing the developing countries, are not willing to offer any further “non-agriculture market access”. The US lobbies are seeking concessions from India and Brazil in services and manufactures.

The UPA government is under pressure from its Leftist allies not to concede any ground at the WTO. Any giveaway, therefore, will be politically troublesome back home. But the reality is that India is committed to cut its industrial tariffs to the 5-7 per cent range in five years. The country can offer some concessions now in exchange for similar concessions to boost its textile and IT exports. This is what some eminent economists, including Prof Jagdish Bhagwati, have suggested. And it makes sense. The EU and the US too need to be flexible. After all, it is in the interest of all to save the Doha Round.

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Living with leaks
Is it privatisation unlimited?

The leakage of pre-medical entrance test papers of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences is indeed shocking but can’t be surprising for most people. Considering that leakage of test and exam papers in this country occurs with unsurprising regularity. It had happened last year too in the same university. Therefore, was it to be expected this year, or wasn’t it? In a country that strongly believes in precedents, if a test paper leaks one year, then the pattern should be anticipated the next year. Those who don’t set much store by such precedents, scandalous or otherwise, can fall back on Murphy’s Law: If things can go wrong they will. From this follows the second law: if things cannot go wrong, even then they will. Unless these laws are accepted as inevitable, it is hard to make sense of the many leaks that abound in India.

Leakage of exam papers is not confined to any one institution or discipline. It happens every year, from school-leaving exams to entrance tests for engineering and medical colleges. Of course, when the IIT entrance test papers leaked in the recent past, it was a shocker, though the worst practices eventually catch up with institutes of excellence, too. Perhaps, it is the terminology — leak — that gives the whole business a bad name. A broader definition, as for example “outsourcing” or “privatisation”, may make it more acceptable. After all, it is a booming industry and a sunrise sector in our knowledge economy with an assured stream of customers every year.

We have leaks at the highest levels. The Navy war room leak case continues to make headlines. Theft of power, once called “leakage”, is now accepted as “transmission loss”. Water, too, would be leaking were it not so scarce. In the 1980s, Rajiv Gandhi found that only about 15 paise of every rupee for development reached the end beneficiary. He did not know where the rest of the rupee went. That confirmed leakage as the larger, main, part of any process. Perhaps, it is time we came up with out-of-the-box ideas to deal with a situation where question papers habitually find their way out of sealed boxes. How about the authorities leaking the answers? Or, outsourcing the leakage to private parties whose names can be obtained from police stations, in case their records are up-to-date?

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Thought for the day

The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature: only then can he see clearly.

— Julian Barnes

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Women empowered
Can be a worry for fundamentalists in B’desh

by Syed Nooruzzaman

In which direction is the political wind blowing in Bangladesh? Can fundamentalism overshadow secular politics? Such thoughts come to one’s mind since one of the religious parties there, the Jamaat-e-Islami, is a major partner in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led ruling coalition. It is the Jamaat which caused the birth of the most militant outfit, the Jama’tul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the mastermind behind many bomb blasts in the past. It is a different matter that the Jamaat today claims to have disowned the JMB. According to Law Minister Moudud Ahmed, the JMB cadres have been almost eliminated.

Going by the ground reality, a secular political culture has much scope to prosper in Bangladesh. The very culture of the country with its focus on socio-economic development is unlikely to tolerate the growth of fundamentalism. The impression is based on close interactions with politicians, journalists and others during a recent visit to that country. Bangladeshis appear to be too conscious of the image of their country. They privately admit that the conduct of the political class is not healthy. They are playing the politics of expediency. But somehow a situation is getting created in which fundamentalists will have to lie low.

The Jamaat’s political ambitions are getting precedence over its religious agenda. It prefers to keep quiet on an issue which, in its estimation, may damage its political base. Here is the latest example. The mortal remains of a Bangladesh war hero, air force officer Matiur Rahman, were dug out from his grave in Karachi under a special arrangement with the Pakistan government and brought to Dhaka where he was buried again on April 25, when this writer was there to participate in an India-Bangladesh editors’ dialogue, organised by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).

Jamaat leaders were among those who received Rahman’s mortal remains at Zia international airport, Dhaka. Anyone having even rudimentary knowledge of Islam would agree that digging a grave for whatever reason is a grave insult to the dead. But this was done because it would help in enlarging the ruling politicians’ following among the masses.

Fundamentalists must be feeling uncomfortable with the policy of encouraging women to be self-dependent, but they can never muster courage to oppose a universally applauded scheme. So, they have quietly extended their support to the drive for women’s empowerment. But most women must be aware of the fact that they cannot think of this advantage in a society controlled by religious extremists. The women will, therefore, never support such a group to expand its base.

Bangladesh is doing all it can for the uplift of women. Most employees of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, popularly known as BRAC, the largest NGO engaged in different areas of activity, are women. Textiles, the biggest industry in Bangladesh, has a policy of preferring women in employment, who are considered more useful than men because of the kind of job that is required to be done. Over 80 per cent employees in this sector are women.

It is also believed that poverty alleviation will be faster when most families have working women. Female members, it is argued, spend their entire income on running their household, which is generally not true in the case of men. Besides, only a working woman is considered an asset and gets the deserving respect. Otherwise, she has to suffer all kinds of indignities.

Perhaps, it is the lust for power which has forced the fundamentalists to amend their agenda. Under the population control policy of Bangladesh, contraceptives, including condoms, are freely distributed among the target groups. This work is being done mainly by the NGOs, which have their vast network in the rural areas. Interestingly, the fundamentalists have been cooperating in this programme, and the results are very encouraging. The population growth rate has come down considerably.

There is clear focus on economic growth. Bangladesh, an otherwise poor country, is growing at 6 per cent per annum, not a small gain for a nation which earned its independence from Pakistan only 35 years ago. The way things are moving Bangladesh can grow even faster provided it tightly guards its political stability and adopts a little more flexible foreign policy. Despite the India phobia that can be easily noticed, there appears to be an urge to develop friendly relations with New Delhi. This is based on the realisation that improved ties with India, a vast market next door, will spur economic growth in Bangladesh. Friendly relations with India will also work as a deterrent against fundamentalism.

Recently there were reports of the army taking over the government, which would suit the fundamentalists. But people close to the corridors of power are of the view that the armed forces of Bangladesh are least interested in politics. They want to concentrate on their professional growth and let the politicians do their job, good or bad.

There is, however, an element of uncertainly about the elections, due early next year. The principal opposition party, the Awami League of Sheikh Hasina Wajed, has been threatening to boycott the polls unless its demand for electoral reforms, including the scrapping of the new voters’ list and replacement of the Election Commissioners, is accepted. The League has accused the Khaleda Zia government of creating a condition in which it would be easier for the ruling coalition to rig the elections.

The new voters’ list shows an increase of 1.65 crore names (22 per cent), which has been possible, as it is alleged, because of manipulation of figures with the help of new enumerators, mainly BNP and Jamaat supporters. The controversial Chief Election Commissioner has been removed, apparently in deference to the wishes of the opposition, but the new head of the commission is not a consensus candidate, which is what the Awami League and the other opposition groups wanted. Besides this, the government recently appointed two new Election Commissioners, one of whom is accused of rigging elections in the past.

This is not all. The government has increased the retirement age of Supreme Court Judges from 65 to 67 years, saying that this is what has been recommended by a committee appointed to look into the matter a few years ago. But the general belief is that this is aimed at paving the way for a friendly caretaker government headed by a pro-ruling alliance judge.

The emerging scenario indicates an atmosphere of uncertainty in the coming months. The anti-incumbency factor is visible even today when the elections are a few months away. People are unhappy with the ruling groups because of their failure to ensure adequate power and water supply, to control corruption, improve the law and order situation, separate the judiciary from the executive, etc. But they are also sick of the frequent hartals organised by the League and other opposition parties. They had promised not to take to such anti-growth tactics if they had to sit in the opposition. This means that no side can be sure of forming the next government.

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Practical lessons
by Dhanendra Kumar

I have recently turned 60. Nothing special, except that some friends who met that day said that it was 06-06-06 to turn 60. Some said it was Devil’s Day.

As I look back, July 2, 1969, seems yesterday when I reached Ambala city. The person who received me at the railway station on that hot sultry afternoon took me straight to the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Being a KTP (keen training probationer), I had put on a tie sitting in the jeep before I entered DC’s chamber. A somewhat stern looking and burly gentleman, he briefly told me my training schedule and kept on disposing off his files. He, however, did not give me any smile and called his GA — one KK Abrol — to make arrangements for my training and stay. I was lodged at nearby Rifle Club.

I observed the training schedule meticulously and met the DC only after the week’s schedule was over. He was obviously getting reports on my activities. I was then invited for a meal at his residence.

I was highly impressed by the DC’s vast bungalow, with a lot of greenery. As I was strolling with him, I noticed a lot of overgrown plants in front of the dwelling unit. Novice as I was, I took some courage and asked him: “Sir, would it not be better if this long-looking grass is cut and cleared and some good Calcutta grass grown here — it will make a beautiful lawn”. He was aghast and unbelievingly told me: “You are calling my IR-8 hybrid variety paddy long-looking grass?”. He did not say much during the meal and kept his usual taciturn demeanor with occasional queries about my background.

Next day, SDO (Civil), Naraingarh — one PL Khurana — took me to a village Sarawan. I was told that the instructions were not to put me in a Government Rest House but with a family, until I recognised all the crops properly.

I became the guest of a local — Lal Singh — whose generous hospitality made me somewhat uncomfortable. The family really went out of the way to look after me and feed me with lot of lassi and butter.

The real test was to come in the morning. Lal Singh and his son woke me up early next morning with a spare Lota to take me to the fields for morning ablution. It was a bit tough in the beginning but after some time, it became a habit. While returning, during “datun”, I was introduced to various crops. The local Patwari joined me during the day and told me about the finer points of Jamabandi and Girdawari.

After a week, when Khurana came to take me back to Ambala city I realised that I had actually started enjoying the village life. Next day, when I went to meet the DC, he seemed to have already got the details of my sojourn though feigning ignorance as I was narrating. Finally, he gave me his first smile so far and told that we have to be practical administrators and not dwell in theory only.

I had a feeling of accomplishment.

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Return journey
The Shatabdi has to rediscover itself

by Ashok Kundra

The story of the Kalka–Delhi Shatabdi lies wrapped in some dusty file of the Industries Department of Punjab government, which may not be traceable now. It all started with a demand by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 1989 for a fast rail link between Chandigarh and Delhi. Militancy was then at its height in Punjab. The link was justified as a confidence building measure for facilitating safe and hassle free travel between Chandigarh and Delhi. S.S. Ray, the then Governor, Punjab, strongly pleaded with the Railway Ministry for such a link.

But the proposal had a difficult time due to bureaucratic blockade in the Rail Bhavan and Baroda House. The Railways felt that it may not be a viable proposition, since there “would not be many takers for such an expensive train.” Further, the track between Ambala and Chandigarh was too weak to run a high speed train. As Chandigarh Railway Station lacked infrastructure for parking, cleaning, washing and maintenance of coaches, the train could not originate from Chandigarh.

The Punjab Government made a valiant attempt to counter these objections. It was argued that Chandigarh happened to be the capital of Punjab and Haryana and the gateway to Himachal Pradesh. Many corporate and central government departments have offices in Chandigarh. The satellite towns of Mohali, Panchkula and Parwanoo have been fast expanding. A large number of executives, professionals, industrialists, businessmen and officials frequently commute between Chandigarh and Delhi. The air link was extremely weak and practically not existent. Therefore, the apprehension that train would be unviable was not well founded.

Until the Ambala–Chandigarh track was strengthened, more travel time could be allowed for the train. To take care of maintenance problems, the link could be extended to Kalka which would provide convenience to tourist traffic as well. The proposal kept on shuttling to and fro for some months. Despite ambivalence on the part of the railway bureaucracy, with a strong push given by the Governor the powers that be finally relented and agreed to introduce the train.

The Kalka Delhi Shatabdi Express became a reality on a wintry morning in 1989 when the Governor of Punjab flagged it off enthusiastically.

The rest is history. The train was a roaring success. It caught the public imagination fast, as the journey by road then used to be tortuous and time consuming, besides being accident prone. Though the fare is much higher compared to journey by bus or other trains, it becomes the preferred mode for anyone who travels by it once. The general perception is that Shatabdi provides value for money, comfort and saving in time. The demand became so overwhelming that soon a second Shatabdi had to be introduced and yet another was launched for a while, which was discontinued later. To cope with increasing rush, some additional coaches have recently been added. The Chandigarh Shatabdi reportedly has the highest occupancy rate in the country.

Half the pleasure of travel by Shatabdi lies in having a leisurely breakfast in the morning with a newspaper by your side, or snacks in the evening or dinner at night. The time passes quickly. The Railways could not visualise that the train would be so welcome, providing comfort to passengers and generating revenues for the Railways, a win-win situation for all.

For the executive class passengers, it has an added attraction. The executive class coach is a sort of club where invariably one meets some familiar faces and the time is utilized in exchanging pleasantries or discussing serious business. In hindsight, the assessment of Railways regarding viability turned out to be woefully wide off the mark. The demand potential, and consumer choices and preferences, seldom become known to a monopoly service provider.

The launch of Shatabdi virtually coincided with the opening up of the Indian economy. The nineties represent a watershed in change in outlook, attitudes and lifestyles of the urban middle class in India. The Shatabdi typifies these changes, in as much as a train initially patronized by the elite is now preferred by the middle class. Expenditure on travel, entertainment and communication in the middle class household budget as a proportion of income has enormously gone up. While incomes have risen too, the attitude towards spending is changing faster with the sweep of globalization, and exposure to media, TV and the internet.

However, in the aftermath, much that was promised has not happened. The track between Ambala and Chandigarh was planned to be upgraded. This would have reduced the travel time between Chandigarh and Delhi to two and half an hours. Nothing has materialized. Sadly, over the years, catering services have deteriorated. The quality of food has gone down terribly. Measly cutlets, shriveled potato fries, wafer-thin bread slices, substandard tea bags and jam pouches are on offer for breakfast. It is seldom realised how sensitive the passengers are if anything goes amiss with the catering.

Coaches are dirty and ill kept, toilets stink, lightning is poor and upholstery in some coaches is old and worn out. The painting is substandard. Incidence of delays is on the rise. There are frequent failures of the air conditioning system. The deterioration in services is directly in proportion to hike in fares! Despite protests by the passengers, there is no improvement.

Nonetheless, the Shatabdi is not an ordinary train. It symbolises the transition of the Indian economy and society. It signifies progress against odds. It is a story of bureaucratic blockades and its penchant for status quo, its inability to think big and its reluctance to change and experiment. It is also a story of a push given by political leadership, once a while, for forcing a decision and by-passing the bureaucracy and brushing aside their objections. It is a story of growing craving for ease, speed and comfort.

At another level it is also a story of apathy towards maintenance of infrastructure and tremendous tolerance of Indians for putting up with the deficiency in services. The Shatabdi story is thus the story of both the rot and resilience of the system.

The writer was Secretary, Industries, with the Punjab Government when the Shatabdi journey began.

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Chinese communism celebrated
by Clifford Coonan

China’s Communist Party is 85 years old and the cadres are having a party. The Mao jackets have given way to sharp blue business suits and the red star may be digitally generated these days, but the message is still couched in doctrinaire Marxist-Leninist language.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics means the anniversary celebrations are a dizzying combination of Cold War icons and contemporary state-of-the-art capitalist chic.

Despite the hammer-and-sickle branded jollity, the Communist hierarchy is keenly aware of the challenges facing the party in the 21st century and President Hu Jintao renewed his call for the comrades to combat spreading corruption which he said was sapping the government’s authority.

The anniversary celebrations have gone head to head with the World Cup for prominence on state media. Great Chinese icons and achievements, such as the shiny skyscrapers of Shanghai’s Pudong district; the world’s biggest dam at the Three Gorges, the controversial Tibet railway, , as well as the space capsule Shenzhou 6, have featured in the TV advertisements for the 85th birthday events, all emblazoned and trademarked with the ubiquitous red stars, hammers and sickles.

The Communist Party is flourishing, with nearly 71 million paid-up members last year, suggesting the notion of socialism with Chinese characteristics has struck a chord with the cadres. The party has proven more ideologically flexible than Karl Marx ever would have suspected and historians say its success is one of the most politically significant events of the 20th century.

The organisation that celebrates its birthday today is a very different kind of Communist Party from the one founded by a gathering of some 50 radical intellectuals in Shanghai in 1921. For one thing, the Marxist-Leninist party has taken capitalism to its bosom, though democracy is still not an option, and its roots among the proletarian dictatorship showed in a speech by party leader, head of the army and president, Hu Jintao.

“The Communist Party always attaches great importance to maintaining and developing the progressive nature as a Marxist party,” Hu said in a speech broadcast live from party HQ.

Reinforcing ideological loyalty and spreading wealth to China’s poor could ensure that the party remains in power even as it deepens market reforms, he said.

“We must profoundly grasp the lengthiness, complexity and difficulty of fighting corruption and promoting clean government. If a ruling party cannot maintain flesh-and-blood ties with the people, if it loses the people’s support, it will lose its vitality,” he said.

This week, China sacked the deputy head of the navy, Wang Shouye, for “economic crimes” and having “loose morals” after he was denounced by his mistress. A vice governor in the eastern province of Anhui was detained for taking bribes, and earlier this month, Beijing vice-mayor Liu Zhihua, who was responsible for allocating some Olympics projects ahead of the Beijing Games in 2008, was sacked because of graft.

Since 1994 there have been some experiments with grassroots political reforms, including limited local elections, which could eventually transform China into a democracy, according to party thinkers. In recent months, Mr Hu has overseen a re-education campaign to instil discipline, Confucian-style ethics and ideological loyalty among the rank and file.

— By arrangement with The Independent

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Defence notes
A befitting farewell for our veterans 

by Girja Shankar Kaura

To ensure honourable and befitting funerals for its deceased veterans (ex-servicemen) and widows, the Indian Army recently launched a new scheme called the Assured Decent Last Rites Scheme (ADLRS).

The scheme envisages having an organisation at each Army Canteen where veterans are attached. It will be manned by a selected field staff comprising of a Welfare Officer and Field officers. On intimation of the demise of a veteran or his widow, the field staff will move to his residence, contact family members and provide on the spot assistance required by the family, besides helping in organising the last rites, if required.

The scheme will primarily be financed and executed by the CSD canteen where the deceased veteran was attached. To implement the scheme, an organisation will be formulated at all Station Headquarters.. The scheme will be implemented in two phases. While in Phase I, Delhi, Chennai and Lucknow will be covered, in Phase II the rest of the country would be taken up.

Guns to salvers

After wielding guns, the jawans of the Indian army are getting ready to serve you with the best traditions of hospitality. The Indian army and ITC recently came together to host a training session for the jawans. These personnel have been trained in different areas of the hospitality industry, for six months, and can be absorbed anywhere in the country. Many amongst them have plans to start their own projects, including heritage type hotels.

Maj Gen Harwant Krishan, Director General Resettlement . gave away certificates of completion at a valedictory function in New Delhi, in the presence of Mr Dipak Haksar of ITC Maurya Sheraton.

Jaipur foot

The Indian Battalion deployed in the eastern region of South Lebanon as part of the UN Peace Keeping mission is doing its bit to alleviate the problems of landmine victims. Twenty-two such victims in its area of operations were donated the “Jaipur foot” in a special project. The officers of the battalion liaised with originators of the “Jaipur Foot” and the “Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayta Samit. Seeing the success of the project, a Phase-II would be undertaken to take care of similar landmine victims in the entire area of responsibility of the UN force by the end of the year.

HAL’s strength

Aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) ushered in the largest batch of over 500 Management and Design trainees into its fold in Bangalore recently. Congratulating the new batch, Director LCA Mr.Yogesh Kumar said : “The first batch of management trainees were inducted into the company in 1968. There were merely 30 to 40 trainees. Now, almost all divisions of the company are headed by members from the first batch.” The new trainees, selected from thousands of aspirants, will now undergo a one-year training programme with the HAL Management Academy. On completion, they will be posted to various divisions of HAL.

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From the pages of

February 2, 1963

New formula for Kashmir?

The evils wrought by Pandora’s Box have become part of nursery lore. As the third round of the talks between India and Pakistan draws near, preparations are afoot in London and Washington to open an Andorra’s Box. A preview of its contents have been vouchsafed in a section of the British Press which argues, though not very persuasively, that what is possible in the Pyrenees is at least worth a trial in the Himalayas. The Republic of Andorra in the Pyrenees is under the joint rule of France and Spain, but the arrangement has certainly not been working flawlessly.

The “New York Times” says that much more is involved in Kashmir than Kashmir itself, but that precisely is also the difficulty. The two main parties to the dispute as well as their well-wishers have their own notions of the mystique of Kashmir. For India it is a test of secularism. For Pakistan it is an extension of the theocratic State. For the U.S. and the U.K. it is a pawn in the game of cold war politics.

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Possession of wealth is to be praised if it is used to sustain many.

— The Upanishads

To perform the holy sacrifice and show off his kingdom, the king needs a very strong ally, equally if not more powerful. The ally’s influence protects the king from wrath of his fellow kings.

— The Mahabharata

The egocentric preaches piety, but does not himself practice it.

— Guru Nanak

The Holy Book does not categorise any quality as a moral quality unless it is exercised within its proper limits. It need not be demonstrated that virtue lies in the middle course: it is a mean between two extremes.

— The Koran

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